Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
La Plata & Waldorf Criminal Defense Lawyer
The Charles County Criminal Defense Firm Hablamos Español 301-259-3488

Holiday Retail Theft


The holidays are upon us, and while that brings to mind gingerbread houses and tinsel for many, for retailers, the focus is on theft.  It’s the busiest shopping season of all, and that means shoplifters are out in full force. The majority of all retail theft—roughly 80 percent– occurs during the holidays. In the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, nearly $2 million worth of merchandise will likely be lost to sticky fingers. That estimate is up 6 percent from 2022.


 Shoplifters who are caught and prosecuted face some pretty unpleasant criminal penalties, including fines ranging from $500-$25,000 and imprisonment from 90 days to as much as 25 years, depending on the value of merchandise stolen and other factors.

 Why do People Shoplift? 

People choose to risk being arrested for shoplifting for plenty of reasons, some of which are a bit surprising:

  1. They want what they can’t have:  A self-imposed pressure to provide gifts for family and friends can be tremendous, and when people don’t have the cash at their disposal to make desired gift purchases, the temptation to steal can be overwhelming. Beyond that, there are some who struggle to afford basic necessities, and shoplifting becomes a matter of survival.
  2. Thrill-seeking:  Let’s face it: for some, stealing is all about the rush they get when they outfox store security systems and personnel.  They may not need or want the items they steal, but they sure love the thrill of taking them.
  3. Psychological problems:  Mental health issues including kleptomania ,OCD ,and depression can result in the temptation to shoplift. Even issues like anxiety and bipolar disorder can thwart one’s reasoning, increasing the chances of shoplifting.
  4. Peer Pressure:  Some people, particularly youth, may feel pressure from friends to see what they can get away with.
  5. They’re just risk-takers:  Some shoplifters believe the risk of getting caught is so miniscule– compared with the joy of having the things they want– that they go for it. Afterward, they can enjoy—or sell—stolen merchandise.
  6. They are repaying a debt:  In some incidents, law enforcement reports that immigrants get involved in this sort of crime in order to pay off their debt to those who assisted in their entrance into the country.
  7. Shoplifters think it doesn’t really hurt anyone:  Many shoplifters believe they are engaging in a victimless crime, and that insurance companies will make retailers whole after a theft anyway.  No harm, no foul.

Organized Retail Crime Groups 

Groups of thieves sometimes target designer merchandise that can later be resold online or in large quantities elsewhere. It’s one of the latest trends to hit retail stores: smash-and-grab operations that frighten employees and cost retailers a lot of money.

The Defense you Need 

The experienced LaPlata & Waldorf criminal defense attorneys at The Law Office of Hammad S. Matin, P.A. have your best interest at heart and will fight for the best possible outcomes for you. To discuss, schedule a confidential consultation today.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn